The halftime show at the Super Bowl has evolved into one of the most prestigious stages reserved only for those who have achieved superstar status, but it wasn’t always that way.
The halftime show at the first Super Bowl in January, 1967 at the Los Angeles Coliseum featured the Grambling State University Marching Band, Al Hirt and the University of Arizona Symphonic Marching Band. The fourth Super Bowl at Tulane Stadium in New Orleans in 1970 presented a Tribute to Mardi Gras with Carol Channing and the Southern University Marching Band.
Over the years there was a parade of marching bands and some big stars, but the Super Bowl halftime show did not become a stage for superstars until Michael Jackson performed at the Super Bowl in Pasadena in January, 1993. From that moment on, the Super Bowl halftime show became a coveted spotlight for performers because of the honor it bestowed upon those receiving that rare invitation.
This year’s halftime show has led many to question if Bruno Mars is worthy of that honor. Mars joins superstars like, Madonna, U2, Paul McCartney, Sting, Prince, The Rolling Stones, Aerosmith, Janet Jackson and Justin Timberlake, The Who, Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band and Beyonce as Super Bowl halftime entertainers.
The argument has been made that Bruno Mars is a new, young star and doesn’t have the historic resume of other stars that have graced the big game’s halftime stage.
Bruno Mars is 28 and has only been a national phenomenon since 2014. In just 4 years, he has been nominated for 18 Grammy awards and last week won 2 Grammy awards, including Best Pop Vocal Album for Unorthodox Jukebox.
The music and the style of Bruno Mars represent the present and the future with a comforting retro tribute to the 70s and 80s. “Treasure” instantly brings back memories of Earth, Wind and Fire and the current hit, “Locked Out of Heaven” bares striking similarities to the Police in the 80s.
The reinvention of the music of the late 70’s and 80s by new artists, like Bruno Mars, is inspired by a new young generation’s infatuation with 80s music. Every Thursday night in the French Quarter, One-Eyed Jacks has 80s night that is packed with young people who were too young to have heard any of the hot 80s songs I was playing in the 80s on B-97! Yet, they seem to celebrate the positive uplifting ambience of the music of the 80s, which reflected the positive attitude of the young generation at the time. If music reflects the mood of the country for each young generation, then there are new young generations that seem to have a positive attitude about life!
The younger generations that have adopted 80s music as their own are dancing to and singing every word of songs that were not even part of their young lives. There are popular 80s nights at clubs across the country and all are attracting younger generations.
Bruno Mars is among the talented new artists that are creating the music that will define this decade – in the same way that the distinct sound of the 80s defined that decade. I applaud the NFL for selecting a young artist that represents the future, rather than relying only on those artists that have a well-established past. Bruno Mars will be performing with the Red Hot Chili Peppers, which presents a blending of generations.
The NFL does not pay a performance fee to the performers, but considering that a 30 second commercial costs over $4 million and Bruno Mars will be on stage for about 12 minutes – that will be great advertising for his music, concerts and merchandise!
Many of the superstars that have been part of Super Bowl halftime shows have earned superstar status over the years and some still produce hits, but I like the selection of Bruno Mars because he will not only attract a younger audience, but he will win credibility with a mature audience that may not have recognized what he means to music today if he were not chosen as the halftime entertainment at this year’s Super Bowl.
This weekend is the 50th anniversary of The Beatles arriving in America. For today’s Establishment – the original anti-Establishment generation from the 60s – it is appropriate that they witness a young artist who represents a new trend in music – as
The Democratic National Committee should start fund-raising events to raise money to support the possible presidential candidacy of former Arkansas governor and FOX News host Mike Huckabee!
The Republican National Committee opened its winter meetings last week in Washington with the goal of expanding the party’s appeal with women voters, younger voters and minority voters. “Change course, modernize the party and learn once again how to appeal to more people” is part of the strategy of the new “Growth and Opportunity Project” of the Republican Party. So, it is shocking that Mike Huckabee would address the meeting with his comments about women and birth control. Huckabee may have been trying to criticize President Obama and the Democrats, but instead he struck a severe blow to his own party. Democrats are celebrating, and Republicans are saying “WTF!”
In promoting the Republican Party, Huckabee said, “If the Democrats want to insult the women of America by making them believe that they are hopeless without Uncle Sugar coming in and providing them with their prescription each month because they cannot control their libido or their reproductive system without the help of the government... then so be it.”
Even if you are a conservative Republican – read that again! Huckabee, like other male conservatives, is putting all the blame and responsibility for sex and conception on women. It seems to me that when it comes to sex with a woman, someone else is involved, and that someone is usually a man. In a sexual relationship, do men bear any responsibility? To even suggest that women in America need the government to give them birth control pills because they are incapable of controlling their sexual appetite totally ignores the reality that a fertile man is equally involved in sex. And in how many cases is it the man who makes the sexual advances?
The Republican Party has a national image of trying to dictate behavior, and projecting an overall insensitivity to women and minorities. I did not create that image, but it is a prevailing view of the party and there is admission within the party about the need to change. The meetings in Washington were promoted as an opportunity to project a new direction for the party, but these comments by Mike Huckabee only enhance the very same image the party is trying to get rid of.
Ironically, Huckabee himself told the meeting of Republicans that the party must widen its appeal and end its internal divisiveness. Can he possibly be that out-of-touch with the meaning of what he said about women in America?
The truth that men like Mike Huckabee do not want to recognize is that it is men who depend on the birth control pill. Men want to have sex without the consequence of pregnancy. Men are quite often unwilling to make the sacrifice of using a condom. Men can walk away from any pregnancy. And it is men that seem to demand control of issues of sex and pregnancy.
Last year during the presidential campaign, a few Republicans made controversial statements about rape, abortion and birth control as if Republican men are not benefiting from the convenience of birth control. This is the mentality that continues to cripple the Republican Party.
I mentioned in a blog last week and on “The Scoot Show” on WWL that the stage is set for Republicans to win back the White House in 2016 and that may still happen, but not if men like Mike Huckabee are leading the party’s direction.
An opportunity to send the Republican Party in a new, more inclusive direction for the midterm elections in November and the presidential election in 2012 essentially became a fund-raising speech for the Democrats.
Right now, the Republican Party continues to allow itself to be defined by extreme views, and this is political suicide for Republicans on a national level. They are operating out of fear of alienating the extreme right base of the party – the same base that greatly contributed in the loss to President Obama last November.
In his comments to a meeting of the Republican National Committee, Mike Huckabee ended a sentence with “then so be it” as a way of saying it is out of his control. So, I will end a sentence with the same words.
If the Republican Party wants to guarantee another loss in the battle for the White House by focusing on the personal issues of birth control, same-sex marriage and abortion – then so be it!